It has been an extraordinary past week. The United States Supreme Court decided in a close vote to lift the ban on same gender weddings. This has been a highly contentious issue in our country and the decision by the High Court was met with cheers from many and anger by others. Social change is very difficult for any society. Our nation has undergone periodic upheavals with regards to Civil Rights, women’s rights, abortion, etc. We survived because in the end we all know that we are stronger together than we are apart.
This doesn’t mean everyone will embrace the decision. But as in those other instances, we will adjust and we will move on.
The United Methodist Church has long been conflicted around this issue. We have stated for a long time that our church is one of Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors. We have been clear that we will be a welcoming church to all persons regardless of their race or sexual orientation.
At the same time, we have also been clear that we will not sanction marriages between same-sex couples. Bishop McAlilly sent a “pastoral letter” to all the churches and clergy this week reminding us that even with the Supreme Court Decision, our clergy may not officiate at a same-sex wedding. Here is his letter to us:
It is my hope that our great church may one day eliminate the conflict that exists in our hearts on this issue. Until that day, we owe it to one another to continue to learn from one another and above all to respect those with whom we disagree as we do with those with whom we agree.
If you’d like to talk to me about this, I’d welcome those conversations.
Kristin Clark-Banks is the pastor of Forest Hills UMC.